Once there was a time when Halloween was for children, and grownup involvement was mostly limited to dragging kids around the neighborhood, or staking out the front door with a box of candy for the legions of trick-or-treaters. Those times are no more, as the holiday has morphed into a night of playful mayhem for adults, whether it’s at the cineplex, where far-from-G-rated fare rules the day, to nightclubs to music to theater and beyond. Here’s what we’re talking about:
All Things Evil
A Halloween bash featuring a torture chamber and executioner at the door. Don your most gruesome duds and enjoy some cocktails. Evil Olive, 1551 W. Division, (773)235-9100. Oct 30, 10pm-4am. $25 (Advanced purchase required).
Annual Nocturna All Hallow’s Eve Ball
Dance until dawn at Nocturna’s annual Halloween bash hosted by DJ Scary Lady Sarah, who lives every day as if it were Halloween. Event includes a costume contest and a Halloween-themed belly-dancing performance by Read My Hips. Metro, 3730 N. Clark, (773)549-0203. Oct 31, 11:30pm. $16 ($19 if not in costume).
The Brides of Ghost Hunter Richard Crowe: Zombies Built Chicago
Hear Chicago Supernatural Tours operator Richard Crowe and local playwright Michael Flores tell tales of doomed love affairs, a Native American curse and a flood that awakened the dead. Chicago’s very own horror TV host Svengoolie contributes song parodies. On Oct 31, wear your costume for a chance to win prize. Liar’s Club, 1665 W. Fullerton, (773)665-1110. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov 14, 8:15pm. $10.
The Coven and the Crypt
Oct 31 is the Coven aka vampire night, so come dressed as Bill Compton from “True Blood,” Lestat de Lioncourt from “Interview with the Vampire,” that dude from “Twilight” or any of your other favorite vampires. DJs Jordan V’ampire and Jugular Rose will spin. Nov 1 the club transforms into the Crypt, so come as a zombie, ghoul or whatever else tickles your fancy and dance to DJs Mick Boogie, Rock City and Kane. The Underground, 56 W. Illinois, (312)644-7600. Oct 31, 9pm-5am and Nov 1, 10pm-4am. $20.
This is the first year for Devil’s Night, but House of Blues snagged celebrity DJs Sasha and Hernan Cattaneo to spin this 18+ party. House of Blues, 312-923-2000, (312)923-2000. Oct 30, 10pm-4am. $39.
Double Door Halloween Bash
Catch six local bands performing in costume as classic artists. Black Angus as Black Sabbath, Blackbox as Snoop Dog, Catfish Haven as Nirvana, Hobo and the Boxcar as the White Stripes, Midnight Shows as INXS and Viceroy as Cheap Trick. Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, (773)489-3160. Oct 30, 9pm-2am. $12.
Dance your ass off with three of the hottest electronic bands around: Chromeo, Crystal Castles and Boyz Noize. Who knows what crazy shit Alice Glass will pull this time? Opening are locals E-Six & Roan 4 Turntable A/V Set, Loyal Divide, Kid Color, Rob Threezy and Hiroki. Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, (773)276-1235. Oct 30, 9pm-3am. $25-$60.
Halloween at Manor
Dress as your favorite nineties pop band or their rabid fans, from Backstreet Boys to New Kids on the Block to Spice Girls and catch Montell Jordan perform. Chances are he’ll perform his 1995 number-one hit “This Is How We Do It.” Manor, 642 N. Clark, (312)475-1390. Oct 31, 10pm-3am. $20.
Halloween Masquerade Party
Dress up and boogie down to DJ Timbuck2’s tunes. The Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash, (312)753-5700. Oct 31, 9pm-3am. $20.
Halloween at Reggie’s
If you’re a fan of punk music, head to Reggie’s Rock Club to see Teenage Bottlerocket, Cobra Skulls and locals the Hallow, the Scissors and the Kobanes. Enjoy Halloween-themed drink specials including poison-apple and poison-grape shots, brain-hemorrhage shots and creepy-crawly jello shots filled with gummy worms. Reggie’s Rock Club, 2109 S. State, (312)949-0120. Oct 31, 5pm. $12.
Halloween at Sidetrack
Catch the thirteenth annual North Halsted Halloween Parade on the big screen at 7pm at Sidetracks, the city’s wildly popular gay bar. If you come up with the wackiest costume, you’ll even have a chance to win a $500 prize at 10:30pm. Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted, (773)477-9189. Oct 31, 1pm-3am. Free.
The Houdini Séance
This Halloween marks the 83rd anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death. Join Neil Tobin and the Society of American Magicians as they attempt to communicate with his ghost at Excalibur’s penthouse. Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn, (312)266-1944. Oct 31, 7:30pm. $25 (Includes two drinks and entry to Excalibur for the evening).
House of Horrors
Head into the freight elevator to enter Enclave’s basement haunted house for its fifth annual dance party. Hosted and creepy cocktails served until 11pm followed by a cash bar. Enclave, 220 W. Chicago, (312)654-0234. Oct 31, 9pm-3am. $20.
Hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco plays his hometown once again for a special Halloween show. He’s kept mum on what to expect this year, but it will no doubt be a blast. Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, (773)276-1235. Oct 29, 8pm. $30-$35.
Metro’s 1st Annual Halloween
If the youngin’s have nothing better to do, they can catch the Metro’s first Halloween tribute show. On the bill is Love Me Electric as Blink 182, Color Radio as Radiohead, and Plunket as—wait for it—Limp Bizkit. Awesome? Metro, 3730 N. Clark, (773)549-0203. Oct 31, 6pm. $6-$11.
For the eleventh year in a row, mentalist/psychic to the stars Sidney Friedman will bring his interactive stage show to Chicago. This long-time pianist will play whatever song is on your mind, look into your future and share your thoughts with the entire room. You better watch what you think. Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret, 1383 N. Milwaukee, (773)278-1830. Oct 31, 8pm and Nov 1, 7pm. $17 (Two-drink minimum. Reservations recommended).
Smart Bar Halloween Special
Dance the night away as DJs Colette, Jay J and Freddy Montanez spin, and be sure to stick around for the costume contest at 2:30am. The best getups can win anywhere from $100-$500. Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, (773)549-0203. Oct 31, 10pm. $10-$15.
Soul Train Halloween
If you’re not into the gruesome getups, the Soul Train Halloween might be for you. Find your best seventies attire and boogie down to the music provided by DJ Mick Boogie. The Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash, (312)753-5700. Oct 30, 9pm-2am. $10 in advance.
Thriller Halloween Party at Le Passage
Le Passage will be turned into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, so dance the night away in your best MJ duds in homage to the late King of Pop. There’ll also be a fashion show with models donning nothing more than painted on MJ-inspired outfits. Oh my. Le Passage, 937 N. Rush, (312)255-0022. Oct 30, 10pm-4am. $20.
X-ecutioner’s Ball VIII
Excalibur and Vision Nightclub jointly host this two-night costume party and contest featuring $10,000 in cash and prizes. Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn, (312)266-1944. Oct 30, 7pm-4am and Oct 31, 7pm-5am. $15.
Bucket of Blood
A musical comedy adaptation of Roger Corman’s classic horror flick. The story: A busboy accidently kills a cat and faces unexpected consequences when attempting to hide the corpse. Poor kitty. The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, (773)561-4665. Oct 31, 8pm. $15.
Local cabaret duo Scott Bradley and Jonny Stax perform a musical tribute to the 1978 John Carpenter flick “Halloween” set to music by Richard and Karen Carpenter. The plot pursues a young man who murders attractive young babysitters. Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark, (773)784-6969. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Nov 7, 8pm. $15-$20.
Stand against the walls of a dark room during this annual theater-of-horror performance. Professional actors leap from corners to doors to perform short horror sequences complete with video projection, sound and special effects. Shows begin every thirty minutes. Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway, (773)244-2980, Oct 23-Nov 1, 8pm-10:30pm. $8.
Artistic director Sean Graney puts his theatrical spin on Mary Shelley’s classic as well as other works. Clips from the 1931 Boris Karloff film are included throughout the play, and audience members will be pulled on stage to lend a hand. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, (312)280-2660. Nov 1, 3pm. $10-$25.
Hey! Mr. Spaceman!
In this comical sci-fi, rock ‘n’ roll thriller, a small-town fifties drive-in freaks out after a robot boy lands among the locals. Movies including “Flash Gordon” and “Teenagers from Outer Space” inspired the show. The Building Stage, 412 N. Carpenter, (312)491-1369. Oct 29-31, 8pm. $20.
The Hot Karl Spooktacular
Show up in a very adult costume and hear some very adult humor at this long-form improv comedy show. ComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont, (773)549-8080. Oct 31, 12am. $5 ($10 if not in costume).
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The classic tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Put together by GreatWorks Theatre Company, this production is entertaining, educational and suitable for the whole family. The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, (773)404-7336. Oct 31, 2pm and 4pm. $15 (Free for children under two).
This Halloween-themed musical set in a haunted theater puts a morbid spin on songs about body rot caused by global warming and crappy reality TV shows. Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, (773)327-5752. Oct 29, 8pm; Oct 30-31, 10:30pm; Nov 1, 6pm. $30.
The Modern Prometheus
A psychological thriller about scientist Victor Frankenstein. With Frankenstein in jeopardy, his fiancée must choose the correct course of action. RBP Rorschach, 4001 N. Ravenswood, (773)750-2033. Sundays, 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm, through Nov 21. $15 suggested donation.
Watch as Dracula, one of the Ghostbusters, a mummy and Frankenstein perform an interactive improv show. Chemically Imbalanced Theater, 1420 W. Irving, (773)865-7731. Oct 31, 10:30pm. $10.
Plans 1 Through 8 From Outer Space
In this prequel to Ed Wood’s awesomely bad classic “Plan 9 from Outer Space” alien overlords concoct plans to overtake the human race. National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, (773)327-7077. Oct 30-31, 11pm. $10-$15.
If you’re looking for something cheap, head to Chicago Joe’s for a night of Halloween-themed stand-up. Liza Treyger hosts and local comics performing include Chad Briggs as D.K Edinger, Chris Condren, Michael Sanchez, Junior Stopka and Prescott Tolk. Chicago Joe’s, 2256 W. Irving, (773)478-7000. Oct 29, 9:30pm. $4-$8.
The Rocky Horror Show
A stage adaptation of the 1975’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Costumes are encouraged and prop bags will be available for purchase, but none may be brought in. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, (773)935-6860. Oct 29-31, 8pm. $20.
Salem! The Musical
An all-female cast heads this musical comedy set in 1692 about the Salem witch trials. The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, (773)561-4665. Oct 30, 8pm. $15.
The Song Show: Tunes of Terror
Local folk musicians/comedians Natalie Kossar and Homer Marrs attempt to battle their ghosts using only their guitars. Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee, (773)598-4549. Oct 30, 10pm. $10.
Annoyance Productions reprises its debut 1988 comedy-horror production, a parody of the “Friday the 13th” movies, in which the completely white stage gets covered in “blood” as high school-based prototypes including the jock, virgin, class jerk and a nun meet unfortunate fates. The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, (773)561-4665. Oct 31, 12am. $15.
Spooky the Musical
A completely improvised musical that the audience helps create. Throw out your most twisted ideas and watch them come to life. BYOB. Studio BE, 3110 N. Sheffield, (773)248-5900. Oct 31, 8pm. $10 ($1-$5 discount if wearing a costume).